The master photographers can spend years at a location to capture the best compositions with the best lighting. Some of the most notable photographers "cut their teeth" on the Monterey Peninsula. I only had one day. You just have to work with what you've got.
In my case, I had the new Sigma 8-16mm lens. I used the lens on a cropped sensor DSL which is equivalent to a 12-24mm lens on full frame. Fantastic. If you don't mind getting a little dirty, you can get on the ground and shoot images like the one above at about 9 inches distance from the succulents. Setting up the composition was a matter of millimeters, not inches as with more normal focal length lenses.
I really enjoyed shooting the peninsula even though the light was flat, the waves flat, and the conditions less than inspirational. At least I didn't get a bunch of really crappy images when the conditions were ideal. That situation is a photographer's nightmare. One added benefit, I was the only person at Garrapata for several hours. The experience of the vast expanse of cliffs and flowers was breathtaking. Personally, it was definitely an experience I will never forget.
The image above was shot with a 8-16 F4.0 zoom on a cropped frame DSLR, F8 with ISO 320, mounted on tripod with bass head.
Additional images Night Herons can be viewed here.